US Senate Banking Committee Now Has A Bitcoiner + More News 101
Cynthia Lummis. Source: Twitter/@CynthiaMLummis

Get your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptoasset and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.

Regulation news

  • A Bitcoin (BTC) supporter US Senator Cynthia Lummis is now serving on the US Senate Banking Committee, among others. “These committees oversee issues that are very important to Wyoming, like rural broadband, public lands, and financial innovation,” she said. Lummis had previously stated that she wants to “defend [crypto] against federal encroachment.”

Investment news

  • The investment arm of the South Korean business conglomerate Hanwha has snapped up a minority stake in Dunamu, the operator of the market-leading Upbit crypto exchange. Per Digital Today, Hanhwa’s Hanhwa Investment & Securities will pay some USD 52m for a 6.15% stake in the company, in a deal that is set to go through on February 22. Dunamu is 8% owned by the Kakao Group, the operator of the KakaoTalk chat app. Dunamu also operates a number of blockchain ventures. The move is Hanhwa’s second major crypto investment to date: Last year it funded a Series A investment round for the crypto insights firm Xangle’s operator, Cross Angle, stumping up USD 3.6m in funding.
  • DTAP Capital founder and Gold Bullion International co-founder Dan Tapiero is set to launch a USD 200m Connecticut-based fund that will provide financial backing for promising late-stage crypto startups. Per documents hosted by the regulatory Securities and Exchange Commission, the fund will be called 10T Holdings, and will also be backed by Stan Miroshnik, the ex-CEO of the crypto advisor firm Argon Group and the investor Michael Dubilier, formerly of Valor Equity Partners and the founder of Dubilier & Co.
  • UK-based firm Ruffer Investment Management has made more than USD 750m from its recent BTC investment. According to a Telegraph Money report, since buying it in November, Ruffer’s investment managers took profits in December and January as bitcoin more than doubled.

Exchanges news

  • All four of South Korea’s traditional “big four” crypto exchanges – the aforementioned Upbit, as well as Bithumb, Korbit and Coinone – have successfully renewed their “real-name” banking contracts, reported Newsis. Bithumb has signed a new six-month deal with NongHyup Bank, which has also inked an arrangement with Coinone. Korbit has penned a fresh agreement with Shinhan, while Upbit has agreed on terms with the KT Telecom-backed online bank K Bank. Things do not bode well for the rest of the nation’s crypto exchanges, however, as no other trading platforms have yet agreed on real name-verified banking contracts. Under new legislation that promulgates next month, exchanges without banking deals will be obliged to cease trading following a six-month grace period.
  • Crypto exchange River Financial launched a mobile platform for iOS, meant to make signing up and buying BTC faster. Per the announcement, the app will utilize Apple’s security features, such as face and touch ID, to allow clients to instantly buy BTC. Over the coming months, they will be adding additional features to the mobile app to achieve parity with today’s desktop product, the announcement said.

Blockchain news

  • Blockchain developers are devoting less time to “Ethereum (ETH) killer” blockchain protocols in favor of newer multi-chain solutions, according to a report by crypto venture capital firm Outlier Ventures. The report found that the newer “multi-chain protocols like Polkadot (DOT), Cosmos (ATOM) and Avalanche (AVAX) are seeing a consistent rise in core development and developer contribution,” while “Ethereum killers Tron (TRX), EOS, Komodo (KMD), and QTUM are seeing a decrease in core development metrics and developer contribution.”

NFTs news

  • A digital artwork on the Ethereum blockchain has been sold for ETH 420, or approximately USD 650,000, via peer-to-peer marketplace OpenSea. The Hashmask platform hosts a collection of 16,384 unique digital portraits created by a collective of over 70 artists, and one of these non-fungible tokens (NFTs) was sold for a profit of c. USD 129,870 just recently.

Tax news

  • The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has sent audit requests to taxpayers requesting them to disclose cryptocurrency trades and purchases, reported MyBroadband, citing Tax Consulting South Africa. Besides the standard questions, the request also asked the purpose for which the crypto was bought, as well as a letter from the trading platform(s) confirming the investments and the relevant trading schedules for the period and bank statements. Tax Consulting South Africa said that this would have been expected if the taxpayers had made any disclosure of cryptocurrency-linked trading amounts in their returns, but “in this case, we had explicitly confirmed that the taxpayers had not, to their knowledge, ever effected a cryptocurrency-related transaction.”

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